Tubas can do more than oompah. Mike Odello can guarantee that because he's been playing tuba for about 35 years, ever since he gave it a try in seventh grade. Odello even has a bachelor's degree in music performance in tuba. Still skeptical? Odello is a tuba instructor in the music department at the University of Minnesota Morris. He plays in the Central Lakes Orchestra. He performs in a tuba quartet. He works at Sarlettes Music. And he taught music to kids for 10 years.
This is a traveling Christmas decoration. Michael Romberger's 2002 Ford pickup is decorated for the holidays. "I like that it makes people smile and I liked the idea of decorating," high school junior Michael Romberger said. Romberger saw a truck with lights around its truck bed and Christmas tree in the truck and decided he'd like to decorate his truck. "It kind of brings out the Christmas spirit," he said.
Each December I try to give myself a big dose of Christmas vinyl. I don't have a turntable anymore. My husband gave that up during one of our moves but that's fodder for a different column. So, while we don't have a turntable on which to place those beloved vinyl Christmas records, I do have computers. Thanks to the glory and wonder of youtube I can find the beloved Christmas vinyl albums of my youth. If you are younger, think iTunes or Amazon music instead of youtube.
By now most of us have finished our Thanksgiving meal and are looking forward to the next holiday open house or festive meal offered by some nonprofit or church or relative or friend. Some, as I was reminded at the Nov. 14 Scandinavian meal at First Lutheran Church in Morris, are anxiously waiting for a Christmas meal that includes lutefisk. Although Tom Olson of Morris told me on Nov. 14 that lutefisk "is the best thing that happened to cod," I can't agree.
Gage Schmidgall, 13, of Hancock went to the Minnesota State Fair to watch his brother Parker perform in the talent show on the Family Fair Stage, but Gage also got his own type of stage time on Thursday, Aug. 23. Schmidgall was selected to help with the weather news on the 5 p.m. news broadcast of KSTP. Meteorologist Dave Dahl was broadcasting live from the fair. Schmidgall helped with that broadcast by placing magnetic description placards that told about the next day's weather.
I was happy to hear parent and Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan is advocating for a mock trial team at Morris Area High School. I think every high school should at least consider a mock trial team. My son was on a mock trial team for at least three years in high school. He didn't become a lawyer and as we talked about it on Aug. 2, he could only think of two team members who went to law school.
Filings have opened for local city council positions. In Morris, mayor Sheldon Giese and council member Brian Solvie said they would file for re-election. Council member Jeff Miller said he had not yet decided. In Hancock, mayor Bruce Malo has filed for re-election. Council member Jeff Kisgen said he's filed the paperwork but may still withdraw from the election. Council member Jeff Flaten said he's uncertain if he will file. Both mayors said they've enjoyed their public service.
Watching a bunch of kids search for bags of candy and a possible medallion worth $50 reminded me that festival fun isn't always very complicated. The annual Willie's Supervalu medallion hunt at Pomme de Terre Park is a traditional part of Prairie Pioneer Days. Paul Martin and Willie's employees spend part of a Saturday filling small bags with candy and hiding them in the park. The employees out helping on July 14 were enjoying the event as they watched kids search for candy bags.
I tend to think of my mom as Memorial Day approaches. While my mom was dedicated when it came to placing flowers or wreaths on the graves of her loved ones, she used Memorial Day as a way to remind her five kids that moms appreciated flowers while they were living. "Don't put flowers on my grave if you can't get them when I'm alive," she would say. I was still a very young kid when I learned the real meaning of her advice which in my words is: Show your love and respect for me while I'm alive because if you don't, what good are flowers on my grave?
I remember our barns as a place where you could sometimes see mice and those oh, so elusive farm cats. But barns are also a kind of historical reference point. The landscape of Stevens County was once dotted by a variety of barns when there were multiple farms within a section of land.